BOAT TEST: FAIRLINE TARGA 58 GRAN TURISMO
Not content to plod with the pack, upmarket UK motoryacht marque Fairline is leading the charge with its cutting-edge Targa 58 Gran Turismo. JOHN ZAMMIT meets the new guard
avant-garde | avänt gärd; avä n
Noun (usu. the avant-garde): New and unusual or experimental ideas, esp. in the arts, or the people introducing them
Adjective: favoring or introducing such new ideas.
Avant-garde seems a perfect descriptor for Fairline's gobsmackingly gorgeous Targa 58 Gran Turismo, a new sportscruiser (the boatbuilder's classification) that pushes the envelope in so many ways but, once you are acquainted, delivers beyond even your wildest expectations.
Not only pushing the boundaries but setting new standards, the flash, five-star Fairline is indeed avant-garde. In the literal sense, the very term means advance guard or vanguard. This groundbreaking boat certainly leaves behind the old guard and, as such, she should be considered a hallmark of modernism.
Subtlety isn't a Fairline trait these days. From the moment you step aboard, you sense things are a little different here. It begins with the minimal amount of stainless steel on deck, the designers opting instead for a satin metallic finish on a lot of the outside surfaces, continuing with a sense of sophistication, power and on-water presence.
Step into the spacious, light-filled, single-level saloon, with its electric side windows running full length, and you will be wowed by the smart combination of satin-finished dark Wenge joinery and modern, metallic, two-pack paint surfaces. Add the finest leather furnishings and all that abundant natural light from the windows, sunroof and saloon doors, and you'll be loath to leave.
There is U-shaped seating to port around a fold-up table that makes for a casual conversation area. Extend that same table and you can comfortably accommodate eight for a formal dinner. To whet the appetite of your guests, there's a three-metre-long solid stone benchtop nearby perfect for serving the hors d'oeuvres.
But lift the timber covering boards and, voila, a serious galley calls the gourmand to whip up some magic. Amenities include double electric hotplate, cleverly concealed under-bench fridge and freezer, convection microwave, double bowl sink and dishwasher. There is also clever drawer storage for pantry items, as well as crockery, crystal glasses, and your sundowners of choice.
Moving forward, two shallow steps define the helm area, along with twin Besenzoni helm seats, which I was informed, were covered in the same leather as the seats in Aston Martins, the conveyances of choice for James Bond. How apt! Then there are the brains in the boat's computer-monitoring system called PILOT. (See box hereabouts for more on that).
Now for another trick: Global Open. To go Global you merely extend your finger and touch a single button that transforms the boat's indoor ambience by simultaneously retracting the huge sunroof, lowering the side and rear windows, and dropping the 'patio' door. This has the effective of combining the saloon, galley and cockpit into one big open-air environment.
Indeed, as the name suggests, Global Open brings the world indoors. Fair weather or foul, dayboating or summer soirees, the Gran Turismo is eager to please. But the generous outdoor deck plan has as much to do with the boat's success as those worldly interior living spaces.
From the outside, the Targa 58 Gran Turismo is a beautifully proportioned boat, sleek and sassy, streamlined but surprisingly spacious. Yet it's only when you're waltzing about onboard that you realise how big she really is. As such, the 58 rates as a great entertainer, with an intimate party or big and boisterous group, who will be catered for equally thanks to the abundant floor space and smart seating.
The cockpit seating is set around a lunch table that converts, at the touch of another button, to a large sunpad. Otherwise, there's an integral powered sunshade that emerges from the roof to shade the lunch setting at midday. Nearby, a built-in electric barbecue and icemaker are at hand. All the while, the water laps the big boarding platform just steps away, while the easy-dispatch Williams jet tender in the garage - 50mph-plus on the pegs - means the beach is accessible at short notice.
The foredeck holds sway on a sportscruiser and getting there on this boat is safe and easy, via nice, wide sidedecks backed by high siderails and good handholds. I couldn't help but notice the nice, big stylish cleats and fairleads, and the fuel fillers located in the sidedecks that were fitted with digital readouts indicating the percentage of fuel left in the tanks. Such is the detail.
A recessed self-draining area for the non-absorbent sun cushions, which form a second sunbed, is the big feature up front. When coastal cruising, the cushions stow away cleverly in a transverse locker accessible from port and starboard sides. There are also drinkholders and an iPod jack in case you want to crank-up the party while on the anchor.
The anchor and deck gear are stored under a moulded hatch so guests can trounce about in safety. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this boat was fitted with all stainless steel anchor chain. The anchor is a self-stowing through-hull number with a deckwash outlet close by.
But while the style and innovation are impressive up top, below decks is no less engaging. Accessed via an elegant L-shaped staircase adjacent to the helm are three roomy cabins - all with hotel-like en suites - leading off a light-filled central companionway. But, thinking outside the square, Fairline breaks new ground with a massive forward stateroom that takes up almost one-third of the boat.
This forward full-beam master suite is stunning and it's because there is no galley below decks that the designers have had the opportunity to create something special. The king-size bed runs athwartships, a chaise lounge is opposite, with big feature windows, opening portholes, and an overhead skylight that bathe the cabin in light. Owners also get loads of storage and hanging space in their exclusive on-water address.
But wait, there's more: the en suite is in the bow - what a clever use of an area that's not often the best spot, due to chine slap, for sleeping. The oversize shower has twin seats, hinged acrylic door, toilet, basin, solid vanity top, and twin gullwing skylights for more light and space.
It is my view that this truly luxurious owners' suite takes onboard accommodation to a whole new level. Brilliant!
The two guest cabins are no less comfortable, with twin beds that can be joined to make doubles, abundant storage, large portlights, full-length mirrored walls and their own en suites. The European laundry in the companionway was fitted with a Miele washer/dryer. There was also a utility room on our test boat that was fitted out as crew quarters, with access via a hatch in the cockpit. Cruising types can specify the space as storage, work area, and so on.
GRAND TOUR WHIZMO
The engineroom, accessed via a cockpit hatch, is home to twin Volvo D13 diesel engines driving conventional shafts and props. But as they're located well forward, their weight adds to the good balance of the boat while the shaft angles and prop pockets assists with acceleration. Engineering includes an Onan 17.5 kVa generator, air-conditioners, water intakes with glass tops for at-a-glance checks, twin Racor fuel filters/water separators, a cable master for the shorepower leads, automatic fire suppressing, a couple of big blowers, CCTV camera, and excellent soundproofing.
Add a time-proven professional installation and it's little wonder that the boat travelled so agreeably and quietly underway. There was certainly no problem holding a conversation, even with our photographer in the helicopter whirring just metres away. But credit must also go to the Bernard Olesinski-designed hull - it's nicely balanced and requires very little adjustment through trim tabs. Even when we were beam-on, there wasn't a lot of roll. Think dignified ride.
Heading into the building southeasterly breeze, with the engines ticking over at 1700rpm, we were cruising at 22kts using 180lt/h. I had to remind myself that at 17.81m overall, with a beam of 4.92m, this is a big boat. Such is her ease of handling you might almost mistake her for a café racer.
At 2000rpm and 26kts, we enjoyed a good fast cruise while skating over the chop, scouting out the back of the surfline at Surfers Paradise, and catching the odd sunray beaming through the leaden sky. All the while, the 58 is riding softly. She remains that way right up to full noise of 2300rpm. Back on the Broadwater, with the tabs down a touch, and the fuel tanks half full, we recorded 31kts. True driving pleasure.
THIS IS YOUR PILOT CALLING
Beside the helm on the Targa 52 Gran Turismo is Fairline's fabulous PILOT, a hi-tech computer monitoring system that takes care of all the boat's functions from the one touchscreen. I've waxed lyrically about this great system before. It's so easy to use, intuitive, and monitors and controls everything including lighting, fridges, fuel, water, waste, batteries, audio - even the sunroof and windows are controlled by the PILOT.
The PILOT also operates like a giant inverter, running all 240V systems without calling on the generator or a shorepower connection. Best of all, it takes care of business in the background, without you having to think about it, that is, of course, unless you'd like the air-conditioning on to cool down the master suite before retiring, in which case you can switch it on from the helm.
FACTS & FIGURES
FAIRLINE TARGA 58 GRAN TURISMO
Settling into the skipper's seat, I imagined that just like 007's famous martini, I was about to be shaken but not stirred. But not so, in fact, this 24t cruiser with a top speed of more than 30kts is soft riding, surefooted and very easy to handle, when cruising sedately or with the sticks pushed all the way forward.
Heading out of the Gold Coast Seaway into a metre of swell and a half-metre of chop, she was planing at 12.6kts with the twin 900hp Volvo D13 engines humming away at a touch over 1200rpm. It's a comfortable helm with tilt wheel, footrests and a dash accommodating touchscreen Garmin electronics including twin big screens, radar, GPS/plotter, autopilot, bow and stern thrusters, digital engine displays, trim tabs and gauges. A couple of nice touches were the swing-out cupholders and the limousine-style, multi-directional, air-conditioning vents. Luxe boating all the way.
Twin 900hp Volvo D13 common rail diesel, 85% fuel and full water onboard
RPM SPEED CONSUMPTION RANGE
900 10.6kts 35.8lt/h 685nm
1200 12.7kts 80lt/h 367nm
1400 14.7kts 117.8lt/h 288nm
1600 18.8kts 151.6lt/h 286nm
1800 22kts 201.6lt/h 252nm
1950 24.6kts 232lt/h 245nm
2150 28.3kts 275lt/h 237nm
2300 30.1kts 310lt/h 224nm
2350 30.5kts 322lt/h 219nm
PRICE AS TESTED
$2.397 million w/ 900hp Volvo Penta D13 engines
Garmin electronics package; tender-launch system; Williams 325 Jet Rib; blue exterior mood lighting; blue LED underwater lights; cockpit bar upgrade package; dishwasher to galley; anchor upgrade package; LCD fuel-filler displays; powered cockpit sunshade; Bose 321 upgrade; semi-automatic anchor system; telescopic hydraulic passerelle; vacuum cleaning system; washer/dryer to lobby; CCTV cameras; powered side windows and blinds to hardtop; powered patio-door system; RGB interior mood lighting, and more.
As above as turn-key performance sportscruiser
TYPE: Deep-vee monohull
LENGTH OVERALL: 17.81m
DEADRISE: 17 degrees
WEIGHT: 24.12t (dry)
BERTHS: 6 + 1
MAKE/MODEL: 2 x Volvo D13-900
TYPE: Six-cylinder common rail turbo-diesel
RATED HP: 900
PROPS: 30in x 41in four-blade
There is so much more to Fairline's Targa 58 Gran Turismo than we have covered here: things like the pneumatic seals on the sunroof, the RGB mood lighting, the clever drive-on/off tender-launching system in the aft garage, and the entertainment systems. Here's a boat packed full of cutting-edge technology and innovative features that allow you to dial-up in an open-top fun machine, a sophisticated entertainer, and a luxury getaway for the family or just two. Whatever your call, the Fairline will deliver beyond expectations. Welcome to the new guard, the vanguard, of modern performance cruiser.
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